July 7, 2016 Special Dispatch No. 6512

Arab Columnist: We Must Purge Our Sources Of Islamic Extremism Like Post-WWII Germany Purged Its Sources Of Nazism

July 7, 2016
Special Dispatch No. 6512

In his July 5, 2016 column for the London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, under the headline "Uprooting Extremism," Hussein Shobokshi called on the Muslim world to do what Germany did to combat Nazism after World War II, in order to purge itself of its own sources of extremism.

Following are excerpts from his column:[1]  

"When the Nazi regime fell, and Adolf Hitler was defeated at the end of World War II... Germany decided to comprehensively, deeply, and seriously put its house in order. It examined itself in depth, objectively, and gravely, and found that the primary solution to its problem was uprooting the Nazi ideology.

"Thus began a decisive campaign to uproot the direct and indirect influence of Nazi ideology on anything related to Germany's heritage, culture, ideology, arts, and politics. They dug through the ideas of Goethe, Nietzsche, and Kant, sifting through their writings with a fine-toothed comb, for fear that they had played a part in influencing others and paving a clear path to extremism and, later, to Nazism. Moreover, they also turned to [Germany's] musical heritage, and banned performances of music by the renowned German musician and composer Wagner, to which Hitler had listened regularly. They banned his music, fearing that it would be a factor influencing people's ideology and encouraging extremism. [2]

"Germany realized that it was facing a critical challenge that would obligate it to decide, in all seriousness, whether to be or not to be. In light of the gravity of this situation, it had to face the complex problems of Nazism unceremoniously and with an iron fist.

"This is precisely the crisis that the Muslim world is facing - its ability to deal with the extremism hidden in the pages of some writers, that are used by extremists to legitimize and ingrain their positions, acts, and crimes.

"Today we witness the repeated murders and terror [attacks] by the organizations of blood and death, such as Al-Qaeda, Hizbullah, and ISIS; they murder and destroy based on fatwas and bizarre opinions. So long as this matter is presented and handled with kid gloves, we will never obtain results that are serious, helpful, influential, or vital. We must realize fully that we need to take a number of steps to uproot the ideology of terrorism, and that the road will be wearisome. We must be convinced that we are not doing this in order to please the West or anyone else, but rather to protect the religion and Islamic societies against this danger, since they will suffer its heaviest damages and the most victims.

"This issue is crucial and very grave. Ramadan has passed; the terrorist organizations' attacks have not ceased; and blood is running in the streets in almost every Islamic country. It is our duty to purge and purify the sources of extremism - and if we do not, there will, sadly, be no end to the ordeal of blood[shed]...

"The eyes tear up at the sights of murder and blood."



[1] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), July 5, 2016.

[2] The author may have conflated the temporary cessation of Bayreuth Festival when Germany was under occupation and Bayreuth was in the American zone. In any case, the Wagner festival resumed in Bayreuth in 1951 and Wagner is played throughout Germany.

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